How Right-Wingers Are Suppressing the Minority Vote in Georgia - and the Pushback to Expand Democracy

Pota Coston had a pathbreaking career. She was “the first black person and the first woman to serve as a special agent for the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation division in West Virginia. A decade later, she followed that up by becoming the first female manager in the IRS’ Detroit office.” More recently, she was the first black county commissioner ever elected in Georgia's Fayette County in its 193-year history; there hadn't been a Democrat on the commission for 20 years.

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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